Travel Resources

Mexico Travel Resources

There are many restaurants, hotels, homes, bungalows, sights and other cultural points of interest across the country. I’m not writing a travel guide, though…just letting you know where we’ve been and what I like personally.


San Felipe
Hotels, Restaurants & Attractions

San Felipe Rentals
US Phone: 626-239-3745
US Cell: 626-665-7428

Baja Juliet is ready to rent you an AFFORDABLE house in town or on the beach, accommodating up to 12 people. She and her husband Jesus hooked us up with a Panga captain for some fishing and are very familiar with the San Felipe region and its attractions. The main beach house is steps away from the Sea of Cortez and has a back patio with firepit and grill.

Hotel Las Palmas
US Phone: 858-324-2851

One of San Felipe’s older hotels, set in an historic hacienda. We found the room and amenities to be fairly basic, but a good value overall. The rooms are very reminiscent of a 1950’s motor motel in the US. The property is a short walk away from town and the malecon, at the southern end of town.

El Nido Steakhouse

All three Baja locations typically boast excellent mesquite-grilled Sonoran beef, locally sourced quail and a variety of grilled seafood options in a rustic “Ranchero” setting. A visiting Gringo’s perennial favorite, your Gringo found a recent visit to the San Felipe location a tad wanting. With a commercial shrimping fleet actively operating in San Felipe, there’s really no reason El Nido’s should be serving frozen shrimp.

Tacos Brenda
No Web Site, Phone Unlisted.

San Felipe is THE home of the original fish taco. There are many smaller taco shops on San Felipe’s Malecon, clustered mostly on the Southern end. After a successful day of fishing, our panga captain recommended we take some of our seabass to Brenda, who fried them up in large, flaky pieces and served them with homemade tortillas, condiments, rice and beans for about $6.

Sport Fishing
Mike’s Sport Fishing
US Phone: 686-577-1582

In the 80’s and 90’s, apparently, the Japanese commercial fishing industry cleared out most of the good fish in the Northern Sea of Cortez, including the most prized sportfish, the Corvina. However, from a recent fishing trip there, you wouldn’t know it. We brought in over 40 fish, including sea bass, calico bass, red snapper, a donkeyfish and a target fish. Yellowtail is available during the warmer months.

Tony Reyes also operates a fleet, where a bigger boat will take a number of pangas to the midriff islands about halfway down the peninsula. This is a multi-day trip that your Gringo hasn’t taken, so can’t recommend, but it looks like a lot of fun.


Hotels, Restaurants & Attractions

Desert Inn (formerly La Pinta Hotel)
Toll Free: 800-542-3283

When we were there in 2006, the Desert Inn was part of the La Pinta chain of Baja hotels. The best part of this hotel is its location…just north of the malecon right on the beach with rooms facing the Sea of Cortez. The room was adequate, the staff was friendly, and someone made sure we had a fire in our fireplace every night. I can’t speak for the current ownership, but the food was decent, in general, and we had breakfast there in the morning (good chilaquiles, Heuvos Rancheros and a strong cup of coffe). For lunch or dinner, you’re best to venture out for the fresh stuff (seafood) just about anywhere in town.

Hotel Oasis
Toll Free: 866-482-0247

On the southern end of the malecon (the opposite end of Desert Inn) is the Hotel Oasis. Constructed and run by the same owners since 1962, the place has a bit of an American motel feel to it (as it was built for US fishermen to stay in primarily back in those old Baja days). Loungers beware…there are hammocks everywhere and great views of the Sea of Cortez. The pool area truly is an oasis, set toward the back of the property and hidden by exotic plants and flora. The staff were generally friendly and the bar serves cocktails, cold beers and appetizers.

Hotel Palmas Altas
(Not official website):
Mexico Phone: 011-52-613-135-1429

I didn’t stay here, but my buddy Steve did mainly due to the hotel’s low nightly rate ($27 for a single). The single rooms are tiny…just enough room for a bed, nightstand and small bathroom stall. The decor is 60’s outdoorsman wallpaper kitsch. There are blemishes, odd smells, barking dogs and a host of other amenities. Steve LOVED it and Ursula dubbed it his “Dude Pod.” Good for those on a very low budget and apparently a perennial favorite of the frugal fisherman.

La Palapa Restaurant Restaurant Listing

Situated within a palapa structure, La Palapa is a great place to go for relatively inexpensive Mexican fare, such as burritos, tacos, fajitas and other tasty dishes. They also offer a variety of fresh seafood and fish, which they prepare on their mesquite stocked grill (very large and public near the sidewalk). We took our catch of red snapper in one evening and they prepared it “Veracruz Style” with onions, garlic, salsa and olives. Still one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten!

El Nido Steakhouse

All three Baja locations typically boast excellent mesquite-grilled Sonoran beef, locally sourced quail and a variety of grilled seafood options in a rustic “Ranchero” setting. A visiting Gringo’s perennial favorite, the Loreto location was our first (and best) visit to the chain. Highly recommended once you’ve had your fill of fresh fish!

Sport Fishing
The Baja Big Fish Company
Mexico Phone: 011-52-613-135-1603

Expat Pam Bolles operates The Baja Big Fish Company and her husband Francisco is the main panga captain. We used Baja Big Fish twice: For a half day trip of hiking and snorkeling out to Isla Carmen, and for a half day fishing trip. We were there in the off season of February and the wind strength was a consideration every day, however, neither trip disappointed. They are now offering a variety of stay/fish packages with options for every level of fishing enthusiast and budget and can help you plan a complete trip to Loreto.


Hotels, Restaurants & Attractions

Casa de la Loma
Mexico Phone: (434) 342 05-12

Casa de la Loma is built on a hill overlooking the city and offers many panoramic views from it’s steps, patios, gardens and other “hidden” areas. Formerly a sprawling mansion, this beautiful, lush property has since been converted to a 25 room B&B…with a couple of the rooms purportedly haunted by former residents (though we saw/heard no sign of them). It’s location (about a 10-15 minute cab ride to the historic center) provides access, yet respite from the city traffic and noise. We had excellent breakfasts (included in our rate) every morning at their tranquil, garden patio.

Hotels, Restaurants & Attractions

Hostal Santa Fe
Mexico Phone: (434) 342 05-12

So small, this hotel does not even have a web site…and El Gringo’s blog mention posted in the last month shows up on page 1 of Google search results. A tall adobe structure…possibly a mansion in a past life…with small, mission-like rooms ringing an open central lobby area. Guessing that this structure is from the 1800’s. Well-maintained, funky and staffed by friendly Spanish-only speaking staff. The Hostal Santa Fe also boasts a good (believe it or not) Italian restaurant with good breakfasts in the morning. Only two blocks from Plaza Vasco de Quiroga.

Hotel Rincon de Josefa
Mexico Phone: 01-434-25502

We stumbled into this gem to kick off our second week in the region. With rooms at $50-ish per night, the Hotel Rincon de Josefa boasts an open interior and is the most COLORFUL hotel I’ve ever been in, designed to resemble a Spanish Colonial village on the inside. Our room was comfortable, the staff was friendly (that’s getting redundant, this is usually the case in small-town Mexico) and the location is right by the main square.

Bar El Viejo Gaucho—Bar-El-Viejo-Gaucho-c24i1.html

A very cool place with a funky groove vibe and live music on some nights. El Viejo Gaucho was right across the street from our hotel, so we ended up there many nights having a beer and discussing the day’s adventures. Very good Argentinian steaks, cool and very nice staff and a good place to chill out.

Dia de los Muertos Tours
All around the towns, villages and cemeteries of Lake Patzcuaro

Our main goal was to take a trip out to Janitzio Island on an evening boat to observe the native Perepechan’s graveside vigils and other rituals during Noche las Muertos on November 1st. However, on the advice of locals, we decided against it (up to 100,000 people may make the journey to the island — the region’s largest celebration — and there may or may not be a boat to bring you back), and we unusually opted for a bus tour around the lake to experience: A traditional regional dinner at a private ranch, the annual dance festival at Jaracuaro Village, and midnight graveyard vigils at two ancient cemeteries (Arocutin and Cucuchucho). Given the the remoteness of some of these locations, and the conditions and topes of the local roads around the lake, the tour was the only way we would have experienced so much in one night. Inquire and sign up at the Tourist Office in Plaza del Vasco.

Dia de los Muertos and Regional Crafts
All around the towns and villages of Lake Patzcuaro

During Dia de los Muertos, both plazas in Patzcuaro are FULL of regional crafts…from colorful clay plates with intricate skeleton/catrina figures to roughly hewn wooden skeletons to ornately decorated ceramic Catrinas (one of which made it all the way back to San Diego with us via Cuernavaca, Mexico City, Patzcuaro, Morelia and Tijuana. The Bishop of Quiroga initially vested every village around the lake with a specific handcraft, so there is a great, affordable variety of artwork you can afford to bring back home with you.

San Miguel de Allende
Hotels, Restaurants & Attractions

San Miguel House Rentals
US Phone: 713-589-3524

Though we saw many beautiful hotels and haciendas in SMD, renting a house was really the way to go. We rented the beautiful Casa Shelley, two bedrooms, three stories, roof patio all in a rustic, older, adobe home close to the Centro. And all done in the Moroccan style. Our stay was affordable and convenient, and Annie and the rest of the staff at San Miguel House Rentals were super-helpful in setting us up and discussing aspects of the town as well as its culture. San Miguel House rentals offers many homes for varying lengths of time all over San Miguel de Allende.

La Gruta
Here’s a good description from Mexico Woods Blog

Just outside of San Miguel in the countryside, La Gruta is a grouping of man made pools around a natural hot spring that is beautiful, tranquil, and a great way to spend most of your day. The rambling gardens and grounds lead down to the pools, the highlight of which is “La Gruta”, or The Grotto. A long stone arched tunnel leads you to a kiva like dome with sunlight streaming in from an opening in the top. Every half hour, the natural hot springs pour heavily through an opening toward the top of the dome…giving a great massage if you position yourself just right. There’s a nice little restaurant at the top that serves flautas, tacos and other fare along with cold cervezas.

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